Should we hire civilian investigators?
In hospitals, doctors and registered nurses have certified nurse assistants to help conduct the day-to-day health needs for patients. CNA's not only helps doctors and registered nurses treat more patients each day, but, in doing so, they help the hospital cut costs dramatically.
So, to me, it makes all the sense in the world to hire civilian investigators to help conduct non-violent theft cases. This strategy will cut costs while freeing uniformed officers to focus on their specific beat.
Here's an op-ed in support of civilian investigators from the SF Chronicle.
I believe this is a pragmatic approach at protecting our public safety in an era of chronic budget deficits.